Susan Abulhawa

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Susan Abulhawa
Abulhawa in 2010
Abulhawa in 2010
Born (1970-06-03) June 3, 1970 (age 49)
OccupationAuthor, activist
NationalityPalestinian American
Notable worksMornings in Jenin

Susan Abulhawa (Arabic: سوزان أبو الهوى‎, born June 3, 1970) is a Palestinian American writer and political activist.[1] She is the author of a novel, Mornings in Jenin (2010) and the founder of a non-governmental organization, Playgrounds for Palestine.[2] She lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania.[3] Her second novel, The Blue Between Sky And Water, was sold in 19 languages before its release. It was published in the UK on June 4, 2015, and in the US on September 1, 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Abulhawa's parents, born in At-Tur in Jerusalem, were refugees of the 1967 war. Her father, according to one account[citation needed], "was expelled at gunpoint; her mother, who was studying in Germany at the time, was unable to return and the couple reunited in Jordan before moving to Kuwait, where Abulhawa was born in 1970.[4]"

Mornings in Jenin (originally published in 2006 as The Scar of David) was her debut novel.[5][6]

In 2013, Abulhawa published a collection of poetry entitled "My Voice Sought The Wind".[7]

Abulhawa is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine,[8] an NGO that advocates for Palestinian children by building playgrounds in Palestine and UN refugee camps in Lebanon. The first playground was erected in early 2002.[9]


She is involved in the campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions and as a speaker for Al Awda, the Right to Return coalition.[3]

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS)[edit]

Abulhawa is signatory to the boycott campaign against Israel, including the cultural boycott. She gave the keynote address at one of the first campus BDS conferences at the University of Pennsylvania.[10]

Abulhawa sees the BDS movement, according to a 2012 profile, "as one of the most effective ways to promote Palestinian rights and achieve justice against Israel's ongoing ethnic cleansing."[11]

Mornings in Jenin[edit]

The novel, Mornings in Jenin, which was published in 2010. Published by Bloomsbury, it has been translated into Arabic by Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing.[3] It has also been translated into at least two dozen other languages and has become an international bestseller.[12]

The French author and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy called Mornings in Jenin "a concentration of anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish clichés masquerading as fiction."[13] Abulhawa responded by dismissing Levy as a "French pop star of philosophy and intellectual elitism" and accusing him of "name-calling": "He simply slaps on the word 'anti-Semitism' to discredit any negative portrayal of Israel.... Mr. Levy accuses us of 'demonizing Israel', when in fact, all we do is pull back the curtain, however slightly, to show a dark truth he wishes to keep hidden. I suspect that Mr Levy feels, as most Jewish supporters of Israel do, that he is more entitled to my grandfather's farms than I am. After all, that is really the foundation of Israel, isn't it?"[14]

Filmworks Dubai bought the film rights to Mornings in Jenin and plans to begin production in late 2013. Anna Soler-Pont, head of the Pontas agency, which sold the film rights to the novel, said, "This is going to be a special project. There aren't any epic films on Palestine yet."[15]

Other professional activities[edit]

In addition to her fiction writing and activism, Abulhawa continues to do "medical writing for journals and drug companies."[11]

She compares Israel to apartheid South Africa.[16] In 2013, Abulhawa declined an invitation from Al Jazeera to participate in a discussion about the Israel-Palestine issue with several Israelis, including some who were highly critical of Israeli policy.[17]


  • Mornings in Jenin, novel (Bloomsbury, 2010).
  • The Blue Between Sky and Water, novel (Bloomsbury, 2015).
  • Shattered Illusions, anthology (Amal Press, 2002) [6]
  • Searching Jenin, anthology (Cune Press, 2003).[6]
  • Seeking Palestine: New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home anthology (2012)[18]
  • My Voice Sought The Wind, poetry collection (Just World Books, November 2013)[19]
  • This Is Not A Border: Reportage & Reflection from the Palestine Festival of Literature[20]



  1. ^ "Building playgrounds in Palestine: 'This is their special place and refuge'". theguardian.
  2. ^ "Susan Abulhawa". Al Jazeera.
  3. ^ a b c Yaqoob, Tahira (Apr 26, 2012). "Arab-American novelist fights for justice in Palestine". The National.
  4. ^ this is a contradiction with the first sentence : "born in Jebel al Tur in Jerusalem" ; according to other sources (her french editors), she was born in 1967 ...
  5. ^ "Susan Abulhawa". Arab World Books. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Bloomsbury Biography
  7. ^ "Susan Abulhawa's My Voice Sought The Wind – Poetry Review". Palestine Chronicle. 25 October 2013.
  8. ^ Playgrounds for Palestine
  9. ^ Adams, John (March 2003), "Playgrounds for Palestine Brings Playground for Peace" (PDF), Today's Playground, retrieved 13 October 2009
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Bland, Sally (Mar 27, 2012). "Susan Abulhawa: Writing for Palestine". The Jordan Times.
  12. ^ Badih, Samia (May 4, 2012). "Palestine on Her Mind". Gulf News.
  13. ^ Levy, Bernard-Henri (Dec 3, 2010). "The Antisemitism to Come". Huffington Post.
  14. ^ Abulhawa, Susan (Dec 22, 2010). "The Antisemitism to Come? Hardly". Huffington Post.
  15. ^ Evans, Chris (Nov 17, 2011). "Filmworks Dubai Takes Rights to Best-Selling Novel Mornings in Jenin". Screen Daily.
  16. ^ Abulhawa, Susan. "Palestinians Will Never Forget". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. American Educational Trust. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  17. ^ Weiss, Philip (May 19, 2013). "Abulhawa declines to balance out several Israelis in Al Jazeera forum on Nakba". Mondoweiss.
  18. ^ "Seeking Palestine: New Palestinian Writing on Exile and Home".
  19. ^ "My Voice Sought the Wind".
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Susan Abulhawa EAA '03". Leeway Foundation.
  22. ^ "Susan Abulhawa in conversation with Gillian Slovo, Part of Shubbak Festival at the British Library". The British Library.
  23. ^ "MEMO Book Awards 2013 honours Rashid Khalidi, Raja Shehadeh and Penny Johnson". Palestine Book Awards.
  24. ^ "All 4 Palestine | Model Role Details".

External links[edit]